Is Europe’s flu vaccine campaign linked to ‘second wave’ of COVID attributed deaths?
January 4, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Is there a link between the flu shot and excess mortality in Europe in the second half of November? A simple comparison of vaccination statistics and the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 reveals what looks like a correlation between the two, according to a contributor to the French daily FranceSoir. His lengthy and carefully documented op-ed is unsigned, but he claims to have a scientific background and his statistical quotes come from verified scientific papers and studies. And he believes that the correlation he observed is significant enough for the authorities to act upon his hypothesis and to take precautions because of the risk that the effects of the SARS-COV-2 virus are being potentiated by the influenza vaccine.
Here below is a shortened presentation of his reasoning. Links to quoted studies are available in his op-ed.
When the flu shot arrived in France on October 13, 2020, with health authorities encouraging the population to take it in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, in particular so as to prevent hospital congestion, there was an unprecedented rush that led to the vaccination of 34.2 percent of elderly or fragile subjects by the end of the month, compared with just 19.0 percent by October 31, 2019. This despite the fact that at the time there was no official sign of the presence of a flu epidemic. To date, only a handful of flu infections have been identified in France, several of which were related to patients who had just returned from abroad.
5.3 million doses of the vaccine were sold within eight days, and there was a historic shortage of stock: ordinarily, some 10 million doses are sold each year, and administered over a period of two months.
There was a subsequent peak in deaths attributed to the Wuhan virus between November 15 and November 30, in what the government called a “second wave” (according Professor Didier Raoult, the world-famous French microbiologist specializing in infectious diseases, it would be more precise to call it a “new epidemic” because of significant mutations of the virus). At the beginning of October, recalled the op-ed’s author, the reproduction rate of the epidemic was equal to 1, which should have prevented a new “epidemic surge.” However, a sudden rise of hospital admissions and later, deaths took place starting on October 20, one week exactly after the start of the flu vaccination campaign.
The preliminary reason why the author of the op-ed believed a correlation may exist between the flu shot and COVID-19 is that contracting different respiratory infections at the same time is not very likely. Preventing flu (and other rhinoviruses) would therefore facilitate a SARS-COV-2 infection.
In Italy, the Northern regions where flu and meningitis vaccines had been widely distributed during the fall and winter of 2019-2020 were those that saw the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in March and April of last year, as lung specialist Alberto Rossi observed in an interview with LifeSiteNews: almost all of the COVID-19 patients he personally treated in Piacenza had received the flu shot.
Back to France and the autumn statistics: by November 11, 9 million Frenchmen had been vaccinated against the flu. Nine days later, a second shortage of the flu shot occurred. Daily COVID-19 deaths started rising on October 20, and spiked starting on November 10, with daily highs beyond 1,000, while average deaths significantly declined as of December 1st.
Interestingly, a similar scenario played out in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia, Hungary and Romania, that registered few COVID-19 deaths last spring. These Eastern European countries consistently had a very low influenza vaccine coverage until this fall, when aggressive campaigns led to an unprecedented number of flu shots.
In all these countries, there was a massive demand for the flu shot, leading to stock shortages similar to those in France, and in each of them slowly rising numbers of COVID-19 deaths suddenly spiked shortly after the campaign started, and are now descending once more.
Is this a mere coincidence? In Romania, where few COVID-19 deaths were registered last spring and where flu vaccination was rare, the exceptional flu shot campaign started mid-September and COVID-19 deaths started rising significantly as of October 7.
Most of these deaths are those of elderly or fragile patients.
The hypothesis is therefore: “The higher the vaccination rate for people over 65 years of age, the greater the mortality due to Covid-19.”
To answer this question fully, it would be necessary to evaluate the interaction between flu shots and SARS-COV-2 infections. In a context where side-effects of vaccines receive relatively little attention, notably because vaccine producers are not held responsible for them, these studies are few and far between and have not been made as a prerequisite for massive vaccination in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. There have been several warnings, however, on the grounds of several former whistle-blowing studies by medical specialists such as Michel Georget and Michel de Lorgeril, the latter having shown that people who had received the flu shot in 2008-2009 had a higher risk (40 to 250 percent higher) of contracting the pandemic A/ H1N1 than non-vaccinated patients.
The few existing studies in 2020 tend to go in the same direction.
“The first one is Spanish13 and was published on June 18 by Dr. Juan F. Gastón Añaños of the Pharmacy Service of the Spanish Hospital of Barbastro, in his own name. It concerns a town of 115,000 inhabitants, of which about 25,000 are over 65 years old. 20 people died. Of these 20 people, 90 percent were vaccinated against the flu during the winter, while only 63 percent of those over 65 were vaccinated. The small number of people who died can make interpretation hazardous. However, the study is continuing on a home for dependent elderly people: of 94 people, 25 there died from Covid-19. In this home, 80 residents were vaccinated against influenza and 14 were not. Of the 25 deaths, 24 were vaccinated; only 1 was not,” observes the author of the France-Soirop-ed.
Another statistical study, dated May 8, 2020, by two teachers of psychology and chemistry showed a correlation between flu-shot coverage and COVID-19 mortality last spring.
PEER journal published a wide-ranging study on October 1st analyzing data from 39 countries: “The results showed a strong correlation between Covid-19 deaths and the rate of influenza vaccination in people 65 years and older (R=0.687; P-value = 0.00015).”
The author of the op-ed added personal evaluation of statistics from European countries, excluding those that had closed down their borders early such as Iceland, or that made extensive use of the “Raoult protocol” as it is known in France: hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc. He also found that the higher the vaccination coverage in one of the 21 European countries he retained for his calculations, the higher the mortality in relation to the total population or to the number of people falling ill with COVID-19.
Counter-studies contradicting these studies do exist, and the author quoted them, but showed that they had little statistical significance for various reasons; he also rejected studies favorable to his hypothesis for the same type of reason.
He quoted a further study that was presented as proving that there is no relation between flu vaccination and COVID-19 hospitalizations or deaths, while in fact the study shows that 17 percent of non-vaccinated infected patients needed hospital care, against 41 percent of patients who had received the flu shot. The authors of this study used “corrections” without giving details. In a general way, according to the France-Soirop-ed, studies that contradict the flu shot link suffer “weaknesses” and are indeed “cautious” as to their results.
The op-ed added that there can be other factors explaining the sudden surge in COVID-19, such as the fact that countries that have not been affected by a respiratory virus often observe a surge in infections later on (but usually, the virus is weaker by then).
“What is troubling is that all European countries that have been spared so far are being impacted by an outbreak at the same time. An epidemic does not spread uniformly in time and space. Unless there is a common trigger in time and space. The European Union conducted a campaign in early October to encourage all European countries to implement influenza vaccination campaigns. It seems legitimate to ask the question of the impact of influenza vaccination on mortality in case of infections with other respiratory viruses,” it said.
There is also the “climate factor,” linked to less sun, colder weather and lower immunity of the population. But on the other hand, it recalled that last spring, Europe had exceptionally warm and sunny weather. Also, temperatures fall earlier in Eastern Europe than in the west, but its COVID-19 mortality did not rise earlier in consequence.
As to how the vaccine can favor COVID-19, the op-ed quoted several studies published in 2020 in The Lancet, Science Direct and the Journal of Medical Virology suggesting that viral infections such as the rhinovirus and coronaviruses can stop flu epidemics by activating the immune system against future flu viruses.
This “viral interference” can affect a current epidemic, these studies suggested. Other pathogens, including common rhinoviruses, could in this way “suppress” the replication of SARS-COV-2 whose growth factor is lower than theirs.
Quoting Georget and de Lorgeril, the author wrote: “We are wrong to believe that vaccines ‘magically’ stimulate our immune system with an attenuated or dead virus without any collateral effects. Why shouldn't the exact opposite happen? The presence of the dead or attenuated virus can be interpreted as benign by our immune system and thus facilitate a future infection. This is called an immune response that facilitates the infection. This phenomenon has been observed for several viruses such as measles, respiratory viruses (RSV), dengue fever, but also HIV. It is also known that vaccination in some cases leads to a drop in immune defenses contrary to what one might expect, and this drop can last several weeks.”
He also observed that “social distancing” and frequent hand-washing possibly blocked benign infections that actually activate our immune systems in winter, thus giving wider scope to more dangerous and contagious infections when contracted.
So the immune response to COVID-19 might block the flu, and at the same time the flu shot might “deprive people of a strong immune activation that could have protected them against SARS-COV-2.”
Virological surveillance in France showed how a rise in SARS-COV-2 infections corresponded to a decrease in common benign rhinoviruses, together with the absence of flu infections. In the same way benign rhinoviruses tend to disappear at the height of a flu epidemic and return after it ends.
Finally, side-effects of the flu shot may also make patients more vulnerable with regard to COVID-19, according to the author. These include bronchial damage, asthma and diabetes, and all these conditions are related to increased morbidity and mortality among COVID-19 patients.